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UNNATURAL food is the principal cause of human degeneration. It is the oldest vice. If we reflect upon the number of ruinous dietetic abuses, and their immemorial tyranny over the larger part of the human race, we are tempted to eschew all symbolic interpretations of the paradise legend and ascribe the fall of man literally and exclusively to the eating of forbidden food. From century to century this same cause has multiplied the sum of our earthly ills.
FELIX L. OSWALD
To my three children: Bernarr Herbert, Walden Ellwood and Willowdeen La Verne, whose rugged health, sunny dispositions, mental alertness and unusual strength are due to Hygienic Principles and Practices; who have escaped most of the superstitions that are the curse of child-life of today; who have escaped the crippling influences of Modern Medicine; and give great promise for the future, this book is lovingly dedicated by:
ONLY unnatural appetencies have no natural limits, and a combination of dietetic restrictions with the one-meal plan would enable us to dispense with the sickening cant of the saints who ask us to make our dinners as many ordeals for the exercise of self-denial. "It would justify suicide," says an educational reformer, "if this world of ours were really arranged on the diabolic plan of making every gratification of our natural instincts injurious."
"Stop eating whenever the taste of a special dish tempts you to unusual indulgence." . . .
"In saying grace, add in silence a pledge to prove your self-control;" "test the superiority of moral principles to physical appetites," and similar apothegms recall the time when moralists tried to earn heaven by trampling the strawberry patches of earth and obtain forgiveness for erring at all by mixing their food with a decoction of wormwood. "Stop eating when you relish your food more than usually!" Negro et pernigo! We might as well tell a health-seeker to refrain from sleep when he feels specially drowsy.
"Regulate the quality of your meals and let the quantity take care of itself," is a far more sensible rule. Wholesome food rarely tempts us to indulge to excess. We do not often hear of milk topers or baked-apple gluttons.
"Do not eat till you have leisure to digest," but after a fast-day, and with all night for digestion and assimilation, do not insult Nature by being afraid to eat your fill of wholesome food. If a combination of exceptional circumstances should, nevertheless, result in a surfeit, do not rush to the shop of the bluepill vender, but try the effect of a longer fast.
FELIX L. OSWALD.